Vaccination: Leptospirosis discussion

Leptospirosis Vaccine (Lauren M: june 11, 2009)
The Leptospirosis vaccine is controversial. Most vaccines are offered for strands that have all but been eradicated (due to vaccinations). However, its not these strands that pose a threat, its other strands. Vaccines are on the market for some of these, but I doubt every vet carries them. I think its a good idea to talk to your vet about it, since continually using the old vaccine is no good when the new line is the threat.

A site that discusses this is The Dog Owner's Guide [need link] another that discusses multiple strands, but there are only 2-3 vaccines.

Same with this article from Cornell
In regards to our urban mutts, note the very last paragraph of this article showing Kansas State University's recommendation for the Leptospirosis vaccine. Remember to consider if you take your urban mutt on country excursions.

I think the main problem with animal allergic reactions to vaccines is the "vaccine cocktail." Giving multiple vaccines at once not only overworks the immune system, but makes it very difficult to isolate an allergic reaction. When I worked in a vet clinic, we did have some allergic reactions. The last time Honey had the DHLPP, she broke out in hives and was in horrible discomfort...she could not settle down to rest. My father never called me or the vet. He should have so she could have been given something to lessen the swelling in her head. Two vets told me that it was likely the Leptospirosis, since that is often the perpetrator of such symptoms. More importantly, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A LIFE THREATENING REACTION! We don't know for sure because the vaccines were all given at once! I say, once you have your puppy vax done, or the initial vaccines on a new dog (including the rescue/shelter records), space those vaccines out, and get the 3 year rabies (which, will hopefully someday be 5-7 year rabies).

titers cost more, but tell if your dog really does have immunity...and the records can tell you how long it should last (which, in the long run, could save you money). However, where you get titers done can have varied vet interpretations, so this is important to consider (mine claims the titers are only good for that moment in time...which is kinda strange...my dogs antibodies suddenly change the next day? the results take 3-5 days to obtain! I guess I could always ask another vet to interpret the results).

When discussing over-vaccination with vets, I find that older vets, while I respect them for their experience, tend to be hesitant in discussing the negatives of over vaccinating. While younger vets, just having had left the institutions were they were exposed to the most recent research, are very receptive to my thoughts on over vaccinating, or multiple vaccines in one visit. They seem to agree that annual vaccines are a bit of a hype as there is no research that shows it increases immunity.

A long term study is finally underway to test the duration of the rabies vaccine. This was not done before as there was no funding. Not many vaccine companies are interested in selling less vaccines. This is the Rabies Challenge Fund.

The Dog Owner's Guide, http://www.canismajor.com/dog/lepto.html

multiple strand discussion, http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1556&aid=454

Cornell University article, http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Oct97/lepto.hrs.html

Dr. Ron Hines article, http://www.2ndchance.info/leptospirosis.htm

Rabies Challenge Fund, http://www.dogsadversereactions.com/rabiesChallenge.html

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(Susan S: june 13, 2009)
My 3 year old Golden had a pretty severe reaction after the Lepto. booster the vet said he needed. Severe swelling on the inside of his leg to the point he couldn't sit down or lie down without pain, rapid breathing and obviously feeling bad. It took 3 weeks of prednisone to get him back to normal. I would appreciate any information you have on allergic reactions to this vaccine, as the vet didn't think this was a big problem overall. Tucker won't be getting that vaccine again, but now I am hesitant about vaccines in general and need to research before he is due again. In the vet's defense, Tucker does seem to have other allergy issues, with food. Do you know if that has implications in connection with immunizations? I appreciate any help you can give.

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(Sue H: july 1, 2009)
Lauren, this is great information. Thanks!

My dogs' vet is Dr. Stephen Finch from Grantview Animal Hospital. During Cammy's annual visit last month, Dr. Finch and I discussed some of the trails that she and I hiked. And, we discussed the bodies of water (creeks, lakes, puddles, etc.) that Cammy was exposed. He told me that Lepto may be found on these trails, so he recommended the vaccine. After much discussion, he told me that he was using a new Pfizer vaccine that had a low occurrence of side affects. Cammy did get the vaccine and I've watched her closely for any reactions. I haven't noticed anything unusual. Even though Cammy experienced no reactions, I have not vaccinated Bella. Bella has had allergic reactions to other vaccines. I'm still deciding whether or not to vaccinate her.